Chippenham <1> Feb. 20. 1821
The Books which you desired to have immediately, are sent by this Evengs Coach & the others are put away, to be forwarded whenever you may wish for them I have had much conversation with Mr Grosett <2> respecting another Lease for the Abbey & I enclose a statement of his last Proposals on the subject, which I hope may be satisfactory to you The great object I have kept in view, in negociating [sic] with him has been to prevent any application in future for repairs, except such as will be for your Interest to undertake If you should approve the Basis of his Proposals he will thank you to forward them to Mr King <3> to put them into a more regular form for Mr Grosetts Solicitor to peruse Mr G hopes that a very short Lease may be sufficient as the Conditions are so simple
I have spoken to Mr Paley <4> about his Composition Tythe for the three Farms & he expressed himself perfectly satisfied with the proposal which I made from you upon the subject & I therefore hope we shall soon settle that Business
I have seen the Agent of the County Fire Office He informed me that the Insurance for £4000 on the Abbey, will be £10 pr annum but he did not think the Office would take either the Farms or the Houses in the Village on the general Plan which we talked of in Town He said it would be necessary to specify a given Sum on each Farm & House in the Village under these Circumstances, I should hardly think it would be worth while to ensure the Cottages in the Village, being so numerous, but I should recommend laying out the £2000 among the Farms. Proportioning the amount according to the supposed value of each If this Plan meets your approbation, I will carry it into effect as soon as I hear from you The Insurance for the Farms will then be £5 pr annum unless some of them should have thatched Buildings attached (which I do not think is the case with more than one or two) & in that case there will be something extra for such
Respecting the two Houses in the Village which are so much in want of repair I have had a good deal of conversation with the Bailiff & our Carpenter There does not seem at present any disposition to take the ground or building Leases One of the Tenants has made a Proposal to me which I am induced to recommend as I think it very fair He will take his House for fourteen years on a repairing Lease, at a reduction of £5 pr annum from his present Rent & should any part of the Premises fall down during that time he will undertake to rebuild it Under the present Circumstances, I think the Proposal very desirable The other Tenant appears to have taken an opinion upon the state of his House, wch is that tho old, it will probably stand for many years & he is therefore quite satisfied with it & begs he may continue to rent it as it is & he will not ask for repairs
The Carpenter who wants to build a shop wch will cost him £40 will do so if he may have a Lease of his House (on which he will join it) for 21 years I do not see any objection to his Proposal as it is only a Cottage & he is a respectable Man & a good Tenant
I am afraid you will be tired with reading such a long string of Questions, but if you will take the trouble of giving me your sentiments on each of them at this time I trust I shall not have occasion to plague you again for some months
I am Dear Sir Yr obliged & obed Sert
W. H. Awdry
1. Chippenham, Wiltshire: largest town near Lacock, 3 miles N.
2. John Rock Grosett (1783-1866), MP; Jamaican Parliament; occupant of Lacock Abbey until summer 1827.
3. William Read King & Son, solicitors, London.
4. Rev James Paley (17901863), Vicar at Lacock.